Organic mulches, such as shredded hardwood bark, break down over time and need to be replaced every three or four years. To determine when to replace your mulch, check the state of the mulch at the beginning of spring. If it still looks a lot like when you left it, then it's probably good for another year. If it has degraded into much smaller pieces, it's time to replace it.
Approximately 3 inches of mulch is recommended for beds, and Becker recommends mulching twice a year. An exception is if you use gravel mulch or inorganic mulch, in which case you could get away with just 2 inches. If you have a bed of herbaceous plants that may be too small for 3 inches of mulch, then you may need to replace the mulch more often.
In addition to the polished look it gives to your landscape, mulch is one of the keys to growing healthy, beautiful and prosperous plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees. It helps to retain moisture and nutrients, encourages beneficial soil organisms, and repels weeds. If you're working on fixing your landscape for spring and summer, a new layer of beautiful mulch will put the finishing touch to all your hard work.
If you have more questions about mulch or would like to learn more about the best mulch for your projects, stop by Patuxent Nursery in Bowie and we will be happy to help. Different mulch materials degrade at a different rates, so one of the key factors will be the type of mulch you use.